Why Pinterest is good for Kaua‘i

Pinterest is the hot social network for 2012.  It is fun, addictive, very visual and easy to use.

Pinterest provides digital boards to bookmark, organize, share, discover and get inspiration for planning weddings, travel, fashion, food, home interiors, and other aspects of life.

Dreaming about travel is one of the ways people use Pinterest. Do a search for “Kauai” (without the okina on the Internet), and you will find boards with names like: One Day, Bucket List, Places I Love, Favorite Places, Visually Stunning and Places I Want to Go.

Pinterest is good for Kaua‘i because people who have discovered Kaua‘i are using compelling images to spread the word about how wonderful their experiences have been.

To participate on behalf of your business or organization, please bring your aloha spirit with you and leave your urge to hard sell at home.

Getting started  

First you need a name. When I joined Pinterest, Linda Sherman was already taken, so I set up Pinterest.com/KauaiMarketing for my account URL. Be sure to include a description of who you are and a link to your website with your profile.

To make it easier to pin your content, you can grab the bookmarklet Pinterest provides in their “goodies section” and add it to your browser bookmark bar.

Expect to find a largely female, active and growing membership. Cold Brew Labs launched Pinterest in March 2010 and expanded membership — by invitation only — with the help of women bloggers and a campaign called Pin It Forward. In January 2012, Pinterest broke into public view and began rapid growth over the last few months. Comscore reported 11.7 million unique U.S. visitors (13.8 million internationally) — an explosive growth from 1.2 million in September 2011.

A few tips

Partially completely boards near the top makes you look disinterested.

Therefore, you should try to complete your first six boards as soon as possible. With nine pins per board and six boards, that’s only 54 pins. You can click on the “rearrange” tab to put your complete boards at the top.

Be generous on Pinterest. Re-pin, comment on, and “like” pins from others.

Create a collaborative board where you ask others to participate in a particular topic. You can also use collaborative boards to help clients plan a wedding or other event.

Here are some specific ideas for using Pinterest to build awareness of your business or organization: publish a recipe with a photo, display photos of your orchids for sale, publish coupons, showcase animals for adoption, or share a how-to video.

The best pins get re-pinned often.

If you have an item for sale, add the dollar amount to your caption and it will get included in the Pinterest gifts section.

Don’t pin only your own website’s images. Look through this board of 900-plus small and large businesses http://pinterest.com/mshahab/brands-businesses-blogs-on-pinterest/ and you’ll see the problem: many small businesses and tourist attractions only pin from their own website.

This does not create engagement. Take a look at the boards of Travel Channel, Whole Foods and Martha Stewart to see how they use collaborative boards and other means to avoid being just about themselves.

What to pin

You can pin images or video from the Internet, your phone or your computer.

Do not pin photos where you cannot see the source or creator of the image. Much has been written about intellectual property concerns created by Pinterest. In reality, it is not just Pinterest. For some time, users of Tumblr, WeHeartIt and others have circulated images without giving credit to the creators.

If you are using Google to find images, click on the image and then the “x” at the top right corner of the image. That will bring you to the original Web page so that you can pin from there.

How to prepare your website for ‘pinners’

Even if you never join Pinterest, you should take advantage of the interest others may have in pinning from your site.

You benefit because the pin they create from your website will include a link to your site  — which will bring traffic back to you.

To make sure that images on your website get tracked back to your site, start watermarking your images with your website name. Because website images show up on search engines like Google and Bing, some pinners mistakenly pin directly from search pages. Pinners are also finding images on image-driven websites like Tumblr and WeHeartIt that were not properly attributed.

Photographers, your compelling photos of Kaua‘i help us spread the word about our beautiful garden island. With a tasteful watermark in the corner of your photo, you can ensure that publicity will come back to you.

Please note that websites built in Flash are difficult to pin from. Try pinning from your site to make sure that it is pinnable. Only pages on your website with images can be pinned. And remember, pinners are looking for striking photos and graphics.

I recommend that you add a PinIt button to your website. If you are on WordPress, there are simple plug-ins to accomplish this.

You will find many details and screenshots on how to use Pinterest in the articles I have pinned on my Pinterest board: http://Pinterest.com/KauaiMarketing/How-To-Use-Pinterest

• Linda Sherman, former CEO of Club Med Japan, builds search optimized WordPress websites while enjoying social media training, public speaking and outrigger canoe paddling on Kaua‘i. For more information, visit KauaiMarketing.com

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